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Three Dark Poems by John Tustin: “The Crush of the Moon”, “Dead Candles”, “Respite”

The Crush of the Moon

Every night she appears
Above me
From her position of nowhere
To her position of somewhere
From behind the magic of a cloud
And I look despondently at her
From my perch at the window,
Drunk on the melodies of music
And embers of light in the darkness

And she looks down at me
With a bored but petulant rage,
Flicking me with a powerful finger
To put me in my place
And knock me down
Just as I am rising

Every night I corkscrew deeper
Into the sameness madness
Of a love that is wan,
That is not tender,
Crushed between the fingers of the moon
And floating further out
Each evening
Into the vast useless discomposure
Of a promiseless
Tomorrow
And the next

Holding on inside to the very things
That have cast me
Into the void

Dead Candles

The smell of matches lit in vain
For candles whose long wicks remain
But are irresolutely soaked in the tears
Of ghosts who never lived here
But in a place I was banned
That I imagine I would see in my dreams
If I still had dreams.

Respite

Even when I close my eyes
I cannot get much rest.
Still. Still.
After all these years,
living more than half a life
in fear and obscurity –
I will not, cannot relax.
The poetic term would be Respite.
No respite for me.

Perhaps it’s because I have words missing
as if chunks of memory deleted.
Faith. Bravery. Trust.
I search for those words
and when I find them
I break them open,
only to find their shells empty.
Standing on the beauty of a silvery sand,
held up by trillions of kernels,
tiny and abrasive individually
and all I can feel is alone,
exhausted, unable.
No respite for me.

When the water laps up to me,
I retreat.
No matter how good it feels,
I back away.
No respite for me.

After all these years
and all that’s happened
I’m still afraid to stand 
at the open window
unless the shades are drawn.
I close my eyes,
the lids shutting abrasively.
The breeze is there
but the shade absorbs it.
It doesn’t matter 
if it’s dark or light out there.
I’m naked and afraid,
my skin untouched.
No respite for me. 

John Tustin’s poetry has appeared in many disparate literary journals since 2009. fritzware.com/johntustinpoetry contains links to his published poetry online.


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